April 05, 2021

Here this time

I have an alarm set on my phone that goes off five times a day
To remind me
Five times a day
That we’re all gonna die

I think you can get an app that will do it for you
And it will go off randomly so you’re
Not expecting it and it will come with a little quote about death
Or about impermanence or —

But I can’t bring any more apps into my life

And actually
If I’m to be honest
Which I try to be although it’s hard
The alarm is only going off three times a day right now because
I turned off the 6 p.m. one because
It would go off in the locker / locker room
While I was at the gym

The only ones currently going off / turned on
Are the 9 a.m., the noon, and the 3 p.m.
But because I have other things that
Happen at those times sometimes
I think in the last few months I forgot what they mean
That we’re all gonna die

It’s funny because when I wrote that first sentence
“I have an alarm set on my phone that goes off five times a day”
I thought it was true

I had a really hard time getting here

I’ve been to SF a few times before and some of those times
It was surprisingly easy
And I thought “I should come here all the time! I love it here!”
Or — “There are people that I love here!
And it’s so easy to get here! I should come here all the time!”

But one of the times it was truly terrible
And many people got hurt
At least two of the people connected to that trip to SF are
Actually dead now
And one of them just got out of the hospital
I’m not going to go too much into that trip because —

It was a long time ago

But it did come up, it came back to me while I was

Here this time

Once when I was in SF I ate a donut with a friend
I don’t remember if it was a particularly
Good donut or anything but I have a picture of it on my phone and
That’s how I know it

I talked with that friend once about pictures
About using the phone to take pictures and how
I’m not trying to take good pictures with my phone I’m just
Using it to take like —

So I have a note in my phone about this
Donut I experienced in SF with my friend in…

It was a cute donut, the kind with chocolate
And rainbow sprinkles on top
But kind of crappy and nostalgic-looking like
It might have been leftover from a PTA meeting in the ‘70s

I was invited to SF as a visitor
But because it’s a time of restricted travel
I have to be in SF…
Not metaphorically but —

Let’s just say my physical body is in Seattle
While the rest of me
Which is a lot
Is in SF

Recently I reluctantly joined Clubhouse
I’m not sure I’m going to stay because
Like I said before I’m not sure I can bring any more
Apps into my life
But I’m on Clubhouse right now because
I’m really interested in the artist Natasha Marin
And Natasha Marin is on Clubhouse
This morning my phone told me that Natasha Marin was
Talking on Clubhouse so I
Tapped to join and
Natasha Marin was talking with some other folks
About naming in the African diaspora

I really liked the conversation
I’ll just say that
I don’t think it’s mine to say anything more than that
But I’m thinking of it now because
Questions around naming have come up for me so many times
Since I’ve been visiting “SF” and also since I said
My body is in “Seattle”

I turned off the 9 p.m. we’re-all-gonna-die alarm because
I have another thing I have to do at that time every day and
I was getting confused and overwhelmed

So what’s really true is
I used to have an alarm set on my phone to go off five times a day
To remind me
We’re all gonna die

I looked up the note I took of the donut

It was really different from how I remembered it

On another trip to SF I got to go to a party on a boat

I’ve never been able to speak adequately about this experience
Say what I need to say about it

Maybe all it is is like

I’m sorry

Maybe that’s all that needs to be said
About that party on that boat in SF

This morning I was listening to the Spotify station
A staff writer at The Atlantic made in honor of Sophie Xeon
I got an email about it and added it to my library
I heard a song — I don’t know what song it was or who was
Singing it but I definitely heard the lyric and
I will not forget it:

“hurt people hurt people”

When I go to the gym I use the pool
I don’t swim I just kind of bounce around
I call it intuitive water dancing

I’ve been in SF for seventeen days now

Except for one inappropriate comment
Linking things people do to ways people are
The first day was really magical

I entered through the top of a line that was almost
At the edge of a page
It was a white line on a black background
It went straight for a while and then got squiggly

This is obviously a translation of a direct experience
So it’s highly inaccurate
I’m just trying to provide a high-level summary
And some raw data

Later, this hasn’t happened yet, I’ll drink bubble tea and
Think about how arbitrary standard increments of time are

On the eighth day I did multiply and become strange
We had some questions:
SF, where were you born?
SF, do you have any siblings?
SF, are your mosses and birds the same as our mosses and birds?
And SF, if you had a time machine, would you go backward or forward?

You don’t have to answer
We’re just putting those out there
Thank you for having us

Of the kinds of tones of voice we heard here
We preferred whispering
And of the rhythms we preferred slow although
Average was acceptable

Let’s say I came to SF for a conference on the future
Of group work with older women
A modality to improve the quality of life

Let’s say I flew over SF and got a general survey

Let’s say I came to SF for the summer
Of love

Actually I did once come all the way here
With my body and everything
Just to see a Suzanne Lacy show
And I’d totally do that again
Given the opportunity

For a while when I lived in Brooklyn a while ago I
Did this thing with some other people
We organized this thing for a while called The 25c Opera
Of San Francisco
It was a monthly event for the enactment
Of texts and theatricals and it was named
After this line I read by Gertrude Stein or this
Line I read about Gertrude Stein about how she
Used to like to go to the actual 25c opera of SF when she was a kid
Because she liked how
Fake it was or how
Entertaining it was or
Anyway it seemed like she liked to go there for fun so I thought
That would be a good name for our thing

I’ve been making a list lately
Of women I love who are alive right now but who are all like everyone else
Gonna die

It’s really long

As part of my research for this trip I was going to look them all up and see
Whether or not any of them had ever visited SF

Suzanne Lacy is on the list

Also, embarrassingly, Octavia Butler is on the list

Someone did very kindly let me know that
Octavia Butler has already died
I’m not sure how I didn’t know that already
Or sometimes I think maybe I did know it but I just kind of
Didn’t want to accept it so I kept her on the list as a way to like —
I don’t know like —
If we say “Octavia Butler is gonna die”
Then maybe she hasn’t yet?

I’m not really a cat person
But once when I was in SF
My friend left me alone at her apartment
And her cat — who isn’t particularly like… cuddly
Sat in my lap for a long time

She fell asleep there

It felt really special

Since I’ve been visiting SF
I’ve been thinking about how I’m also visiting Seattle
And how everyone and everything really is and everywhere

I reset my alarm this morning
To go off at 9:36, 11:16, 1:08, 3:07, and 5:53
To remind me

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